Croatia’s Vis Island has been a late bloomer in the tourism arena due to the Yugoslav National Army’s base on the island, making it out of bounds to foreign visitors.
In 1989 the island became open to foreigners, making for a paradise of unspoiled beauty due to years of little commercialism.
In 2018 the movie Mamma Mia 2 was filmed with Vis as its chosen location, putting the island in the spotlight and boosting intrigue about this fabulous destination.
Vis, Croatia’s most distant island, can be reached by ferry or speedboat from Split.
The ferry takes two and a half hours, while a speedboat is much faster, taking approximately one hour.
This dreamy haven of Mediterranean paradise has two main cities, with daily buses running between Vis in the southeast and Komiža in the southwest.
Renting a scooter will, however, allow you to see more of the island.
With so many amazing beaches, panoramic viewpoints, caves, historical sites, and intriguing architecture, we’ve narrowed down the best things to see and do in Vis.
Here are our top Vis Island activities and sights.
1. Award-winning Stiniva Beach
It’s a no-brainer that a beach is first on the list, after all, Vis is a paradisiacal island of sunny bliss.
Stiniva, however, is no ordinary beach.
Awarded as the top beach in Europe in 2016, Stiniva is known as the most beautiful beach on Vis Island.
The beach itself is small, but it features a unique setting in a narrow bay surrounded by steep, 35-meter-high cliffs.
Reach the beach by boat or an adventurous hike, and splash in the crystal-clear waters.
2. Climb Mt. Hum
At 587 meters above sea level, Mt. Hum is the highest mountain on Vis Island.
From the top, you can savour panoramic views of Komiža and also visit the small chapel of Church of the Holy Spirit.
A hike to the top takes around 2 hours, but you can also hop on a scooter and drive up for some of the most remarkable sunset views on the island.
3. Blue Cave
The Blue Cave is the most famous landmark of Vis island.
The cave is located near Vis on the small island of Biševo and is 24m long and 12m wide.
Its name refers to the reflection of the sun’s rays illuminating the cave in magical vibrant blue hues.
This spectacular sight is best seen between 11am and 12pm when the sun is perfectly positioned for the colourful reflections.
4. Castle Grimaldi and the Fishing Museum
The Castle Grimaldi is a 16th-century fortress, located on the waterfront of Komiža.
The fortress was built by the Venetian fishermen with the income of Komiža fishermen to defend the city from possible attacks by Turks and pirates. Suitably, it now also houses a Fishing Museum.
The museum is home to a collection of origional items of Komiža marine and fishing equipment, fish processing items, and a replica of the famous Komiža falkusha gait.
The Falkus were the unique boats of Komiža carrying a crew of six fishermen and almost eight tons of fish.
They were built exclusively from pine trees from the island of Saints, which was considered the highest quality.
5. Church of St. Mary (Church our Lady of the Pirates)
The church of St. Mary “Pirates” boasts intriguing architecture, artwork, layout, and history, making it a worthy and interesting place to visit.
Built in the middle of the 16th century along the coast in Komiža, it was named “Pirate” because of the legend in which pirates stole Our Lady’s wooden statue from the church during their ravage on Komiža.
The legend says that the ship was destroyed in a storm, and the statue floated away, arriving on the beach in front of the church itself.
Built in Renaissance style, it consists of three connected churches with three triangular frontages.
The church boasts intriguing Gothic and baroque features with five altars, gilded baroque statues, carvings, an octagonal well, and intricate paintings of saints and meaningful religious symbolisms.
6. Fort King George III
Fort George III is the largest fort located at the western entrance to the port of Vis.
Built in 1813 it was abandoned after two centuries of military use.
The best time to make a trip to the fort is to attend one of the summer festivals, evening parties, or concerts now hosted here.
A twenty-minute walk to the fort will also give you a fabulous view of Vis town, alternatively, you can get there by car.
7. Tito’s Cave
History lovers may find a visit to Tito’s cave fascinating.
If you are interested in the background stories, visiting with a guide is a great option.
Due to the island’s remote location, Vis played an important part in the resistance movement during World War II.
Home to various military buildings, bunkers, and caves, this is a good place to get a taste of the island’s history.
Tito’s cave is the haven where the resistance leader, Joseph Broz Tito, hid for several months from November 1943.
8. Stoncica beach
Stoncica Bay is one of the deepest and safest on Vis island.
The fact that the beach is sandy makes it great for relaxed swimming and easy access to the water.
There is a great seafood restaurant just a few meters from the water for the perfect ending to a summer day on blissful island beaches.
9. Swim in the Green Cave
Unlike the Blue Cave, visitors to the Green Cave are allowed to swim here. Not quite as spectacular as the Blue Cave, the Green Cave is located on a small uninhabited island called Ravnik, just a stone’s throw from Vis.
Due to its geomorphological characteristics, the cave has been declared a nature monument in Croatia, named after the greenish reflection of the sea resulting from green algae.
Off-peak season it is free to enter, however, you may need to pay an entrance fee during July and August months.
10. The Archaeological Museum
Housed in the 19th-century Austrian fortress of Our Lady’s battery, this small museum has the largest collection of Hellenistic artifacts in Croatia.
The displays include ancient Greek pottery which dates back to the 3rd-1st centuries BC, jewelry, and sculptures.
A section of the museum is dedicated to Vis’ fishing activities and there is also a separate room displaying relics retrieved from shipwrecks.
The highlight at the museum is a copy of the bronze head of the goddess, Artemis.
The statue dates back to the 4th century BC and is one of the most important Greek bronze monuments in Croatia.
The Museum remains open from 1st June until 1st October during mornings and evenings. It is possible to visit the museum out of season with prior arrangement.
11. Summer Events
Summertime on Vis Island is a celebration of culture, art, and music.
Spend evenings at one of the many vibrant festivals, music concerts, theatrical shows, or even the outdoor cinema.
This charming historic island has its fair share of bustling nightlife for a great summer party in Croatia.
With so much excellent cuisine, a host of breath-taking beaches, charming cobblestone streets, fabulous city sunset walks, and beautiful cathedrals, Vis island has a lot to offer for every travellers taste.
Whether you are the historian, party enthusiast, adventurer, or foodie, there is something for you to savour.